Knowledge and Attitudes about Travel Medicine in Latin America in the context of COVID-19: A Cross-Sectional Study

Document Type : Original Article

Authors

1 Laboratório de Pesquisa em Imunização e Vigilância em Saúde (LIVS), Instituto Nacional de Infectologia Evandro Chagas, Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2 Ciencias de la Salud, Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

3 Escuela de Enfermería, EDP University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Abstract

Introduction: Travel Medicine specialty has existed in Latin American for more than 25 years. The creation of Latin American Society of Travel Medicine (SLAMVI) stimulated medical education in this discipline, through research and scientific publications. However, Travel Medicine is practically unknown by Latin Americans.
Methods: Latin Americans (N=9,487) from 9 countries of the region completed an online survey of 10 questions, to determine the knowledge of the population about the existence of this specialty and their attitudes about it.
Results: Despite the fact that more than 90% of those surveyed knew that to travel to certain countries they had to take certain vaccines, less than 30% had heard of the specialty of Travel Medicine. After knowing the definition and objectives of the specialty more than 90% of the participants considered it important to carry out a pretravel consultation with a specialist.
Conclusion: The lack of knowledge of the specialty is the main barrier for the access of Latin Americans to the Travel Medicine consultation. It is necessary to publicize the specialty, using scientific evidence and taking as an example the worldwide spread of COVID-19 through travelers, make the population aware of the importance of pre and post-travel consultation, as well as the creation of this service in more public hospitals in Latin America.

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